Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shepherding Our Future Man Sender

After talking about our vision and adventure for our family as a whole, I also posted our thoughts about shepherding Hannah and Elijah over the next 10 years.  Last but not least, I will summarize our thoughts about Sender.

In 10 years, Sender will no longer be some high energy, "crazy" 3-year-old; he'll be a crazy 13-year old!  Like a typical third child, he desperately wants to have the same freedoms as his brother and sister.  Our job as parents is to only give him the freedoms that coincide what he is able to be responsible for.  It is too easy for us to "open the funnel too wide;" we must remember that this will only lead to frustrations, for him and for us.  (On the other hand, by watching and imitating his siblings, he has picked up on some things faster than they have.)  There is no doubt that our three children have very different personalities and gifts.  Therefore, we have been intentional to discuss each child's strengths, God's call for them, and what applications we intend to implement over the next year.  I've already gave my thoughts for the other 2, and in this post I will outline our ideas about Sender.

Strengths and Gifting.  The name "Sender" is from a the Hebrew form of Alexander, which means protector.  (Alexander was the name of my Jewish grandfather, who died when Hannah was just 6 months old.)  Since he was born, I have prayed that he will always be a protector of others.  Well, it seems that his physical attributes and personality may fit those prayers.  At every age of development, he has been bigger than either of his siblings, and he is the most rough and tumble of our three kids.  For example, just today, he was jumping from the couch to the ottoman to my back as I was laying on the floor.  Also, a couple of months ago I accidentally kicked him in the head with a soccer ball; he was sent sprawling, but quickly got up and told me to do it again.  He is outgoing, loves to play, and seemingly has no fear.  And he cracks us up with his slapstick humor, like running full speed into closed doors.  Like a typical preschooler, he struggles with being obedient.  This, of course, stems from his sin nature, but is made worse by us giving him too many freedoms.

God's Call.  I've already outlined a core definition of manhood in the post about Elijah.  I won't repeat it in full here, but I will give the language that we use for biblical masculinity.
  1. Reject Passivity
  2. Accept Responsibility
  3. Lead Courageously
  4. Expect God's Reward
Applications.  Here are some ways that Joanna and I are trying to help Sender become the man that we think God wants him to be:
  1. Begin to use the language of what it means to be a man (as given above).  He won't understand it all, of course, but it's important for him to begin hearing the language. 
  2. We need to be more consistent in disciplining him.  He needs to learn that God wants him to obey and follow, and it's up to us to be the primary agents in this.  Sender can never be the leader God wants him to be unless he learns to submit himself to authority now.  Watch this video, from Pastor Bill White, from a question we received at the Future Men event (October 30, 2009). 
  3. Going along with this, we need to give him clear and narrow parameters and boundaries.  At this point in his life, he needs virtually zero options.
  4. Help him grow in understanding of who God is, through consistently teaching him from God's word.  This can be done with a good storybook Bible, through discussing our Preschool Curriculum (which focuses on the attributes of God), and even just non-structured talking about a biblical perspective on life (as described in Deuteronomy 6). 
Thoughts or questions?

--  Joey Espinosa

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. It's interesting to hear your perspective on the boys' similarities and differences and how you plan to parent them in different stages. Hearing about the origin of their names was particularly interesting, based on what I know of their personalities.

    Bill's video reminded me of a blog post Mark Driscoll wrote recently (, talking about being under authority before being in authority. Since I'm not a parent, I haven't given much thought to how to parent children through different ages/stages in order for them to be functioning adults/leaders. I probably would have leaned more toward the side of allowing them to make lots of decisions early, but listening to Bill talk through those stages made a lot of sense, given the desired result. Thanks for sharing!